The Chicago White Sox have signed first baseman Jose Abreu to a contract extension, as they appear prepared to contend in 2020.
A slow MLB free agent market the last two winters has been lamented and there’s been little activity early this offseason either. But a day after signing catcher Yasmani Grandal to a club record contract (four years, $73 million), the Chicago White Sox announced they’ve agreed to a three-year, $50 million contract extension with first baseman Jose Abreu.
Abreu accepted a $17.8 million qualifying offer from the White Sox last week, so the new deal effectively amounts to two years and $32.2 million in actual new money for the 32-year old (33 on Jan. 29). He will get a $5 million signing bonus and an $11 million salary in 2020, before making $16 million in 2021 and $18 million ($4 million deferred) in 2022.
Abreu came to the White Sox from Cuba in 2014, and he hit 36 home runs and 103 RBI while leading the majors in slugging percentage (.581) and OPS+ (173) on his way to winning AL Rookie of the Year. He has hit at least 25 homer runs with 100 RBI (while hitting at least .284) in five of his six major league seasons. Last year, he hit 33 home runs with a .504 slugging percentage and an American League-leading 123 RBI.
As cited by MLB Trade Rumors, the signings of Grandal and Abreu puts the White Sox at a projected payroll of $93.7 million for next year right now after accounting for projected arbitration salaries. Grandal’s signing to take over behind the plate will surely lead to one or both of James McCann and Yolmer Sanchez being gone, which adds a little more flexibility. Based on the highest Opening Day payroll they’ve ever had ($128 million in 2011), there’s plenty of room to continue spending this offseason.
The White Sox did their rebuild right, trading some notable veterans for prospects. That’s starting to pay off in having a lot of cost-controlled (and cost controllable) talent in place, with the ability to add significant pieces if they want to in this or upcoming offseasons.
The AL Central has been at best a two-team race over the last three seasons, and the White Sox have languished toward the bottom of the division since finishing second in 2012. But with two significant early moves, and the promise of more moves to come, the Pale Hose look ready to be a factor in 2020.